As I put together what I *think* are the final pieces to our next season at the Williamston Theatre, I find that once again I’ve been giving a lot of thought about what exactly a Professional Regional Theatre is – it’s been a while since I found myself really questioning that in-depth. what it does, what it should do, how it fits in with both the nation-wide Regional Theatre Industry and the city and surrounding neighborhoods and state: what are the obligations, the responsibilities?
As happens often, instead of answers, I found some quotes that moved me and made me think:
“We have to dream nationally (with ambition, creativity and excellence) but produce locally (inviting audiences to help nurture new work and innovative artists). Then American theatre can dramatize a changing America, neighborhood by neighborhood, city by city, region by region, in the 21st century.”
“I’m scared that the regional theatre, by the time it is mature, will have bored the shit out of millions of people all over the country.”
“Why do we need to continue to exist? What is the urgent, positive, galvanizing need we will fulfill—a need that will energize others and gather them to us? Is there a social need (e.g., to bring joy into children’s lives), an artistic need (to see the creativity of specific artists reach its fullest potential)—a need that can be clearly defined, embraced and framed? ”
I love the Ben Cameron quote because it’s a question and, along with the others, it has me questioning again. Of course, I’ve got a good idea of where the season is headed, and I’m pretty satisfied with that, but I’m also finding myself dissatisfied with how well I feel we’ve got a handle on some of the other questions I raised above. (And not because I think we’re doing poorly at those things, but because I want a stronger handle on them – Just like each moment in rehearsal: I want to take a good thing and make it great.)
So. No answers right now. That’s okay – I certainly don’t need to have all the answers right now and, in truth, I’m looking forward to exploring these topics during the rest of this season, all of next season, and hopefully far beyond.
I do think that this factors into my overall feelings about what we do, though:
Tell me a fact, and I’ll learn.
Tell me a truth and I’ll believe.
Tell me a story and it’ll live in my heart forever.
— Indian Proverb
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Aww… Celise is adorable.
Adorable is good! 🙂
I really love her quote, though – it’s a great reminder of where I need to turn my attention. Those 3 quotes, actually, have had me thinking a lot this week. You’re a dramaturg – what do YOU think Regional Theatre should be?